Thought for the Day – 2 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Contemplative and the Active Life
“There have always been, in the Church, both contemplatives and active apostles and there have always been people who combined both kinds of life.
The contemplatives seek solitude, avoid contact with the external world and preserve a constant intimacy with God.
The men of action, on the other hand, fight for the glory of God and for the salvation of their neighbour.
Finally, there are those who strive to unite both both forms of spirituality in their work for God.
The first group lead the life of Mary, the second that of Martha, while the third imitate both Mary and Martha.
It is this last group which St Thomas Aquinas prefers.
It is better, he says, to enlighten, than merely to shine; it is better to pass onto others the fruits of our contemplation, than merely to contemplate. (Summa Theologiae II-II q 188 a 6,3).
If we understand and practise his teaching, we can achieve both our own sanctification and the welfare of our neighbour and, can combine the interior life with the external apostolate.”